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This Week in IDEA | August 10, 2012

Our eNewsletter, This Week in IDEA, keeps you informed with the latest news and education about IDEA, our solutions and services, and our customers and partners. IDEA’s knowledgeable staff and other contributing writers share insights, resources and special offers to help you Unleash the power of e. Subscribe now to receive This Week in IDEA in your email inbox every other Thursday and add our RSS feed to your reader.


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Next Live Webinar: Automating Order Management

­­IDEA’s next live webinar is “Automating Order Management” on Thursday, August 30th. The webinar will share best practices for EDI you can implement immediately, and introduce available solutions to simplify your business process.

Webinar: Automating Order Management

Date: August 30, 2012

Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

­Speakers: Barbara Prince, Industry Data Exchange (IDX) Manager, IDEA; Tom Guzik, Director of Products & Services, IDEA; James Wilkinson, Director of Business Process Management, McNaughton-McKay

Register Now

Find out how you can automate order management with your trading partners, including those that don’t have the technical or financial resources to conduct electronic data interchange (EDI). During this webinar, we’ll help you identify ways to leverage the technical foundation you already have in place to increase your levels of order automation, achieve resource-efficiencies and help your bottom-line. We will also look at several industry solutions available to assist in the EDI process, including the Industry Data Exchange (IDX),iConex and EDI Managed Services. Find out more and register now!

Please comment on this post or (Don’t forget to mention us @IDEAeSolutions and use the #IDEAwebinars hashtag!

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Cooper Industries: The 1st Manufacturer to Automate Data Uploads to the IDW


In the electrical supply chain, contractors and other buyers expect the same shopping experience and availability of information they are familiar with on sites such as®. To meet these demands, distributors require manufacturers to provide them with accurate product and pricing information on a regular basis. Cooper Industries, a diversified global manufacturer of electrical components an­d tools, is the first manufacturer to automate the complete process of sending product data updates to their trading partners through the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW). This ensures their product data in the IDW is the most complete and accurate information available.

Cooper completed the process by syncing their SAP system to the Data Management Platform (DMP), which pushes product data through the IDW to their distributors. Cooper calls this automation process a machine-to-machine (M2M) connection as the SAP system and the DMP essentially communicate and work with each other without human intervention. With the elimination of manually inputting data and the resulting human error, a distributor who pulls Cooper’s product and pricing information from the IDW can be confident that the information they share with customers is the same data Cooper has in their business system. Data is accurate and validated straight from the manufacturer -- in other words, it’s “Cooper Certified.”

So, how can other manufacturers automate their product data uploads for a more streamlined business process? Cooper shares the path they took to maximize the utility of the IDW and DMP.

1. Internal Preparation

Previously, Cooper divisions had been sending data to the IDW in different ways. With plans to utilize the DMP to provide product information to all their sales channels at one time, they wanted to do it the right way from the start. To prepare the data to be imported into the DMP, Cooper first extracted and consolidated product and pricing information from their business systems.

Cooper had recently migrated all of their divisions to the same SAP system, and they developed custom software for their SAP system to send data to the DMP directly. However, there are a variety of options for any organization. For companies who send information to the IDW via EDI, the information is already in an acceptable format to be loaded into the DMP. IDEA can also provide companies with an XML template to transmit the data, or they can send through any reports in formats such as CSV, EDI and XML.

2. Teaming up with IDEA

Cooper then partnered with IDEA to develop a custom script that would work best for Cooper’s needs and goals. IDEA’s development team worked closely with Cooper in determining how data should appear when extracted, confirming data would match the IDW’s validation rules, and developing an XML format.

Next, Cooper set up their SAP system so that it would send data automatically at the required times to the IDW and any other custom connections through the DMP. IDEA and Cooper then coordinated their development efforts to syndicate the flow of data from the DMP into the IDW, wrapping up the complete implementation of all components.

3. Analyzing the Results

The DMP automation enabled Cooper to share product data with all their sales channels at once which increases the speed-to-market for their products. It also helps support several long-term growth trends, including a current global infrastructure build-out and the growing demand for energy-efficient products. Their customers now receive product data that is consistent across all Cooper divisions.

Moreover, Cooper’s customers can expect accurate data, and more of it, available 24/7. One example of the time savings this type of automation can provide the channel: it took Kirby Risk over 5,000 man hours to source product data for 15,000 items on their website because they had to visit each manufacturer website and scrape it manually. In comparison, now that Cooper has completed setup for this automation project, it only takes them a few minutes to send product data for 15,000 items to the DMP.

“Set-up with the DMP was a ‘one and done’ process. Product information was fully synchronized so that any changes or updates to the data are automatically pushed by the DMP to our trading partners and data pools. And, publishing new product information couldn’t be simpler. With the DMP, our divisions can send the majority of product line items to the IDW with the click of a button. There’s no need to babysit the process and it completely eliminates the inefficiencies of fulfilling one-off requests manually.” -- Samer Shehadeh, EDI Manager, Cooper Industries

Read more about Cooper’s efforts in the electroindustry article “Climbing the eBiz Mountain” or listen to the accompanying podcasts>

Join Cooper for their breakout session “The Road to Automation & the DMP” at 3:10 PM on Sept. 26th at the E-Biz Forum>

For more information on implementing the DMP for your company, contact us at .

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IDEA Enters Collaborative Partnership with European Standards Association


IDEA intends to enter a collaborative partnership with ETIM International ( This partnership will help align the eCommerce standards used within the wholesale distribution channel w­ith their counterparts in Europe to make global business more efficient for electrical manufacturers and distributors.

The European Technical Information Model (ETIM) is the European equivalent to the industry’s UNSPSC® Electrical Attribute Schema used to communicate product information. IDEA led the development of the Schema to give electrical manufacturers a guide to provide descriptive marketing content to their trading partners throughout the US and Canada. Through this new partnership, IDEA will work with ETIM International to align the standards and develop a cross reference so that manufacturers can quickly send their marketing content to their US, Canadian and European-based distributors simultaneously.

“It’s important for IDEA to continually monitor international eCommerce movements so that we can help our customers work more efficiently across borders as well,” said Robert Gaylord, President and CEO, IDEA. “Partnering with ETIM International to align our eCommerce standards will ultimately give our customers more growth opportunities.”

Mary Shaw, IDEA’s Director of Standards, was invited to brief the ETIM International Board of Directors during the 57th European Union of Electrical Wholesalers (EUEW) General Convention held in Amsterdam this year. The presentation was followed by a discussion regarding the mutual benefit of a partnership between IDEA and ETIM International to align its standards development.

“The theme of the EUEW General Convention was ‘Strengthen and connect the existing.’ This is exactly what ETIM and IDEA plan to accomplish together. Both our organizations have much in common, and IDEA’s presence at the meeting confirmed our interest in closer collaboration,” said Marc Habets, President, ETIM International.

“This partnership will benefit the industry and both our models by improving quality and streamlining the business process for companies conducting business internationally,” added Franz Ernst, Vice President, ETIM International.

View the press release and download the PDF here> 

About ETIM International: The association ETIM International is a partnership of national ETIM organizations and has its official seat in Brussels. ETIM International is founded to join forces in the development, maintenance, publishing and promotion of one European Technical Information Model (ETIM) for the classification of technical products. The power of ETIM is the collective; independent and sector wide organizing is the only way to success. The focus of ETIM International for the presence lies on the classification of electro technical products, but the association is open for entry of other related industry sectors. Current member countries are Austria, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands, the foundation of ETIM France is planned for September 2012 (

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Cooper/Border States Discuss Gathering Customer Input on Podcast #3

­­In part three of the ­“Climbing the ­E-Biz Mountain” podcast series, reps from Cooper and Border States talk about the importance of customer input and team engagement, comm­itment and industry involvement, and actions you can implement.


  • Samer Shehadeh, EDI Manager, Co­oper Industries
  • Lorraine Mott, Project Leader Electronic Commerce, Cooper Crouse-Hinds
  • Greg Thrall, Senior VP Operations & IT (retired), BSE
  • Jason Archbold, Marketing Catalog Supervisor, BSE
  • Sonia Coleman, Moderator

Sneak Peak of Segment #3:

“I’m going to step outside of the four walls of Cooper and just talk about the IDEA network of distributors and manufacturers; being a part of the Industry Standards Committee as Samer and I are, as well as Jason and Greg. We have quarterly meetings, and we all come together as distributors and manufacturers, again, for the common good. We talk about the things that we need. We talk about things that manufacturers need to do for distributors and distributors need to do for manufacturers. That communication in itself a lot of times comes back to the business as to how we then formulate our projects.”
Lorraine Mott, Cooper Industries

Find out more and join an IDEA Industry Standards Committee>

“The earlier you recognize that this is a series of projects that become an ongoing effort, and not just a single project where there is a start and a completion; I think it’s going to put you into the right mindset. There are always new products that are in demand, always products that are being replaced, always new enhancements that are being demanded. So it’s not going away.”
Jason Archbold, Border States­

Listen to the 3rd segment of the “Climbing the E-Biz Mountain” podcast series>

The final segment of this podcast series will be released in our next eNewsletter. Thanks for listening!

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Meet the Exhibitors of the 2012 Forum

As part of the Tech Center Passport Program, Forum attendees can visit and collect stamps from all exhibitors. Three lucky raffle winners will bring home a new Kindle Fire.

Here’s a quick profile of the 2012 exhibitors (* denotes sponsors) so that you can get to know them before the event next month. Visit the exhibitor webpage to find out more about their unique offerings in product data management, eCommerce, EDI, enterprise systems, consulting and more.

*Unilog Content Solutions: a global technology & services company that specializes in product data management and eCommerce and provides catalog management and data cleansing.

*Epicor: a global leader delivering business software solutions including ERP, point-of-sale, and supply chain management to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries.

*DATAgility: a data management service company enabling companies to maintain and improve their competitiveness, efficiencies, and profitability through the implementation of cost-effective solutions.

*Infor: the third largest provider of enterprise application and services engineered for speed, using ground-breaking technology, and offering flexible deployment options.

1SYNC: as the largest certified data pool in the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), 1SYNC offers a robust, easy-to-use solution that can reduce costly data errors and increase supply chain efficiencies for companies of all sizes.

Enlighten.Net: provider of Digital File Manager, a document management and imaging system integrated with all business systems. Emails, reports, faxes, and scanned documents are converted into fully searchable PDF files.

epaCUBE: creators of the epaCUBE software suite, a product repository to organize, scrub and analyze catalog, warehouse stock, and non-stock products in your transaction system.

Faxinating Solutions: a solutions provider that helps companies leverage their EDI investments and extend compliancy to non-EDI trading partners.

Managance Consulting & Coaching: a consulting firm helping organizations define the difference they aim to make by connecting their mission, organizational culture, vision and values with best practices.

MITS: a provider of Advanced Reporting and Business Intelligence solutions used by thousands of organizations, resellers, and system integrators worldwide.

RepFiles: a mobile applications provider dedicated to increasing efficiency, preparedness and success by placing sales and marketing material into the field and closer to the customer.

TechniCon Systems, Inc: the developer of a web-based platform to manage complex product information through sales automation, product information management and eCommerce development.

xTuple: a commercial open source company providing business management software integrating sales, accounting and operations into one modular system.

Browse our recently updated attendee list to find out who’s coming to the Forum. Register now to join these industry leaders at the E-Biz Forum.

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New Platinum Band of Excellence Manufacturers

Congratulations to the following manufacturers that have recently achieved the Platinum Band of Excellence, the most elite status in the industry’s new banding program which measures the amount of marketing content manufacturers provide to the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) for their distributors. These companies are now providing marketing content for 75% - 100% of their stock items! View all manufacturers with Bands of Excellence ratings>­­­

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Contact your Data Quality Analyst at IDEA or email to find out where your company stands and how to achieve IDEA’s Platinum banding level.

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New Synchronization Customers

As a 1SYNC Data Pool On-Board Solution (OBS) partner, IDEA implements suppliers that subscribe to the 1SYNC data pool using the IRD CERICOMX® Data Synchronization Platform. IDEA was recently assigned 13 suppliers:

These companies will be trained to use IRD CERICOMX®, an online catalog that suppliers use to register product data with the GS1 Registry® and GDSN via the 1SYNC Data Pool. Suppliers also use this solution to publish product data to demand partners including retailers such as Lowe’s and Walmart.

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